Calvin Men's Cross Country Team Captures 28th Consecutive MIAA Title

Calvin Men's Cross Country Team Captures 28th Consecutive MIAA Title

Provided by Calvin

Story by Jeff Febus

The Calvin men's cross country team continued its historic run through the MIAA as the Knights captured their 28th consecutive league crown Saturday morning at the Gainey Athletic Complex. The Knights finished with a first place total of 42 points with Hope taking second with 60 points.

The championship streak is the second-longest championship streak in MIAA men's athletics history.

Sophomore Zac Nowicki (Grand Rapids/Calvin Christian HS) led the charge for the Knights, winning the race in a time of 25:36.

Calvin then featured a pack of six runners that finished inside the top 15. Calvin's pack appeared poised to place at least five runner in the top 10 through the first three miles of the race but then fell off the place down the stretch.

Freshman Andrew Rylaarsdam (Grandville/Calvin Christian HS) led the second wave with an eighth-place time of 26:03 while junior Jeff Meitler (New Berlin, WI/Milwaukee Lutheran HS) was ninth in 26:04.

Junior Jonathan Gingrich (Powell, OH/Olentangy Liberty HS) was 11th in 26:05 and sophomore Nate Van Haitsma (Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) was 13th (26:10). Freshman Andrew Philipose (Mount Prospect, IL/John Hersey HS) was 14th (26:13), senior Josh Ferguson (Naperville, IL/Neuqua Valley HS) 15th (26:15) and senior Steven Haagsma (Grandville/Calvin Christian HS) 16th (26:16).

Head coach Brian Diemer has been at the helm of all 28 league crowns and assessed Saturday's performance.

"Zac Nowicki keeps growing up, he's really starting to mature as a distance runner," said Diemer. "I think that he will be one of the top runners at the regional coming up in two weeks. We ran pretty solid the first half of the race. In the second half we didn't compete well. We let runners move through us without putting up much of a fight. We've got some work to do there but we'll address that and firm up our resolve."

In leading the Knights to the 28th straight league crown while also leading the Calvin women's team to its eighth league title under his watch, Diemer brought his career total of MIAA cross country championships to 36. In doing so, Diemer becomes the winningest coach in MIAA athletics history, surpassing former Kalamazoo College men's tennis coach George Acker who led the Hornets to 35 league titles.

Calvin will now prepare for the NCAA III Great Lakes Regional meet November 15 at Wilmington College (OH).